Every business must make sales to survive, so it’s important to improve your sales and bottom line by focusing on your sales coaching. What is sales coaching and how can it help your business perform better? We’ll explore the A-Z of sales coaching here.
Sales Coaching in a Nutshell
Sales coaching is the process of teaching and helping sales reps improve their performance and meet or surpass sales quotas and benefit the organization. Sales coaching isn’t a one-time training session for sales reps when they join the company; rather, it should be an ongoing process that takes into consideration each sales rep’s individual qualities and strengths. A sales coaching program must be personalized, ongoing, and also focused on skills instead of numbers.
Integrating Sales Coaching
There are some great coaching scenarios you can use for your business to train your sales team into becoming top performers. These include pipeline reviews, where a manager would review a sales rep’s pipeline and manage the steps that need more focus. This means you can shorten the sales cycle but you’re also showing reps how to manage their pipelines.
You can also hold customer meeting debriefs, and sit down with sales reps to review meetings from start to finish and analyzing how each meeting went. Think about what went well and what can be improved, as well as the learning experience the rep is taking from it. Another option is call shadowing, so you can provide feedback afterwards or step in to help if needed. This helps new sales reps because they get personalized feedback to boost their self-confidence. Try not to do this too often as employees can start feeling micro-managed.
Sales Coaching Techniques
When you build your sales coaching program, you need to think about how you’ll provide the guidance and feedback, in addition to when you should be coaching, which we’ve just seen.
1. Account Maps
You can’t keep track of all your reps on a daily basis, so coach your sales reps to build themselves an account map for each deal which helps you monitor each one’s status. As per Jason Huntmar, a sales analyst at Brit Student and Write My X, “this should be their contacts, their role in the deal, and the relationship. It makes it a lot easier to review without wasting time.”
2. Tracking and Measurement
Because there are measurable outcomes, you must collect data on the process to help make decisions. As a sales rep coach, have a clear strategy to track what’s going on and your process for training your team members and tracking their sales data. Keep track and collect data on the quota attainment, the average deal size, their win rate, revenue, and sales funnel leakage.
You don’t want to focus just on numbers, as that’s just a small part of performance, but you do need to know their progress and what needs improving or what they’re doing well. Look into pairing this approach with a qualitative method, and use empathy as your baseline to avoid being a micro-manager.
3. Use Other Sales Reps
Coaching isn’t just about your one-on-one with the employee. Use some peer-review methods so your reps can learn from each other. Ask your top sales reps with best performances to hold meetings and share best practices, and review calls together for shared feedback.
4. Focus on Middle Performers
You don’t have endless time to invest in coaching your team. Sam Hillier, a marketing blogger at Australian2Write and Next Coursework, says that “managers often make the mistake of coaching only their lowest and highest performers, when they should be focusing on the middle 60%. These are the performers who have the most space to grow and improve and are worth the time investment.”
5. Ask Questions
You shouldn’t always just tell the sales rep what they are doing wrong or where they can improve. Instead, you should ask questions and have two-sided conversations, which is a proven effective method and helps the rep understand how and where they can improve and be more invested in the process.
These methods all have big benefits for the organization, from benefits to the sales teams, to the leaders, to the clients and customers, and the business as a whole. This is a process that’s more than onboarding and training and goes on throughout a sales rep’s career.